Share in the Secret

"Here are a few simple tips to help you nap wherever you may be:

• "Don't forget to go to the bathroom beforehand. It's hard to sleep when you have to go.

• "Find a safe, quiet place out of the light. This might mean closing the door to your office and shutting the blinds, or perhaps just putting in earplugs and placing a shade over your eyes.

• "Remove anything that will prevent you from relaxing, including textbooks, tools, company reports, computers, and above all, telephones — especially your cell phone.

• "Make sure you're warm, but not so warm that you will oversleep your allotted wake-up time. (At night, you might want to consider a cooler temperature.)

• "Find a comfortable posture that supports your neck and limbs. If lying down is impossible, try to elevate your legs. However, it's estimated to take about 50 percent longer to fall asleep sitting upright.

"For some, clearing the mind is also essential. Try repeating a mantra to eliminate bothersome thoughts, or picture yourself far away from your home or office in your favorite quiet place — a forest glen, a remote beach.

"If you have some control over your napping environment, you might consider adding a lavender-scented candle or basket of potpourri, since aromatherapists say the smell of lavender helps bring on sleep.

"Here's a final, counterintuitive tip: Consider drinking a cup of coffee or a caffeinated beverage right before your nap. Because it will take about twenty minutes for the caffeine to travel through your digestive system, you can fit in a short snooze before it takes effect. Japanese research found that subjects who imbibed caffeine just before a nap were more alert when they awoke than those who didn't, and their ensuing work productivity was high."